I joined the Pakistan Air Force after completing my A-Level studies, where I spent six years undergoing military training, a BSc in Aeronautical Sciences and Primary Flight Training at the Academy.
I gained my FAA licenses in the USA and began working as a Flight Instructor in Daytona Beach, Florida for the next 4 years. I became an FAA examiner during this time as well, which enhanced my teaching experience considerably.
Upon reaching the coveted 1500hrs TT and gaining the FAA ATPL, I landed my first commercial job, flying Cessna-402C’s based in the British Virgin Islands.
Being a single-pilot operation, this was a daunting task at first but it allowed me to further improve my decision making skills, customer service and flying ability. Island hopping across the Caribbean was a treat with picturesque islands, turquoise waters and gorgeous weather. That is until hurricane season would arrive and then it took a completely different trait!
My daily roster would include on average 12 sectors ranging from 5mins to 35mins. It was hard work but at the same time very chilled, as you cannot rush the soul of the Caribbean!
Having passed my exhaustive 14 exams first time around, I arrived at Stapleford to complete the flying part. In the meantime, I worked in operations at London City Airport and was trained in my new role by Chris Watson, who is now head of the group’s broker desk at Luxaviation Group. This experience allowed me to see the behind-the-scenes aspect of airport operations and was very educational.
To keep my flying status current, I gained my British Parachute Pilot’s license and flew several seasons in Cambridgeshire as a jump pilot on a GAF Nomad N-22B. This was my first experience of turbo-prop aircraft and a very different flying operation. Never had I encountered any passengers leave the aircraft in mid-flight at 10,000ft! The cold rush of air from the open door as I descended rapidly kept me alert whilst scanning for the grass strip amongst acres of countryside all looking alike. Naked jumpers, visually impaired jumpers, nervous jumpers, fainted jumpers, sick jumpers and the die-hard ensured it was a memorable experience!
Having attained my JAA licenses by now, I was fortunate to get a position based in Alderney in a single pilot operation flying Britten Norman BN-2 Islanders and Trislanders across the Channel Islands and coastal destinations in the South of England and Brittany.
It was a far cry from the Caribbean but a great character building experience nonetheless! Gale force fog was something I learnt about and practiced crosswind landings for the majority of my tenure there. The history of the Channel Islands is something I had missed at school and I am glad to have been acquainted with it.
My next adventure took me to Teesside where I spent 4yrs as a Calibration pilot operating BE-20 King Airs. Essentially, it is an airborne platform to test the various navigation aids and radar facilities that make up the navigation structure. The flying was intense and hard work but very rewarding. I was given the opportunity to conduct calibration as far as South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique. One of the most momentous trips and also the last I recall as redundancy allowing me to head back to what has always been home, London.
Chris Watson mentioned that London Executive Aviation was recruiting for the King Air so I promptly applied and was successful in acquiring the position. Operating out of Stapleford required some getting used to but the King Air was perfect for this and I enjoyed the challenge.
This was my first experience of corporate aviation and flying VIP’s, which proved to be a bit overwhelming at first but the training and support offered by the company really made the transition easy.
The air ambulance service was another rewarding experience I got to be part of whilst on the King Air fleet and after 2.5yrs, I was delighted when offered captaincy on the Embraer Phenom 300. The performance of the aircraft is phenomenal and I spent the early days trying to catch up with the aircraft. The destinations became further and more exotic and nearly 5yrs later, it still puts a smile on my face as I walk up to my first jet.
Turns out, there is a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow!
Capt. Mohammed Hasan, Phenom 300.